What the Characters Think
Saturday, Feb. 27, 2016
Recognizing the centrality of a constructivist reading—that is, a trans-somatic, experiential interpretation, as articulated by Aloryane (12,069)—of the canonical potentialities, including the "normative hierarchical allocations of non-fungible resources" (Dash et al. 12,063), to the fulfillment of a more ethnographically-oriented but still quantitatively analytical contextualization of both the articulated practices and the ensuing geopolitical procedural discrepancies of governance among the various municipalities under Galan hegemonic administration—not least including those policies conceived and enforced by the directly appointed agents of the Guard of Galavar—who epitomize the unilaterally superimposed structure of "legitimate ethical authority" (Galavar 12,059) that Gala represents—Colt asserts, in A Rough Treatise for the Assembly of Ethnographical Evaluative Methods Pertaining to the Organizational Anthropology of Policy, that, by recontextualizing the modes of exchange of cultural information and updates to the prevailing collectively acknowledged "combined social state" (Aloryane 12,074) among and between individuals, group-units, and acknowledged institutions at all levels in a given society—including the executive committee levels whence power allocations and their outflows are nominally issued—from that of a structuralist conceptual framework of social network-management and flow regulation of "functional-operative sociopolitical currencies" (p. 1,735) modes to that of a non-established, continually dynamic, and culturally multifarious perceptual web of intrapersonal and interpersonal subjectivities, a completely different picture of the associative linkage, including the influential yet arbitrary (Koersin 12,060) "problematic preconditions affecting the configuration—not limited to the collectively-deemed 'fair' assemblages of remedial avenues and apparatuses—of and syndromes in the entire framework of relational inequivalences through which sociologically-authenticating (or 'super-state') power and its exercise are both allotted and acknowledged" (p. 918), which is constitutive of but discrete from "the dictations of physical types upon the expressional venues variously and potentially inequitably (and, if so, duplicitously) offered to the respective segments of society" (pp. 3301-3302), between individual and group autonomy on one layer and the Galan auspices inhabiting a fundamentally overriding or superimpositional layer, definitively emerges. Colt's point, despite being highly embellished in that general direction, is not explicitly to problematize the declared coequivalencies of—
Oh! I'm sorry. I didn't hear you come in. I was just doing a little light dictating ahead of my presentation to the Chia Gardeners League next week. Welcome to Curious Tale Saturdays! Today I'll be talking with you about what the characters think of themselves, or at least what a few of the characters think of themselves. Self-image, as you know, informs not only an individual's direct behaviors but also the complex systems of valuations that inform high-level judgments leading to behavioral actions. But! I don't want too sound thick about it, so let's cut right to the raspberry filling.
Characters' Self-Perceptions: Interview Style
When deciding whether to go wide or go deep on this topic—that is, to present a cursory view of many characters' self-images or a detailed view of only a few—I decided that the former would be both more interesting and more attuned to the theme. So, you can expect these to be a bit brief. They're also a bit preposterous, as I decided to have fun with them rather than punch up a bunch of dry dossiers.
Feel free to ask follow-up questions, or to inquire after the self-images of other characters!
Q: How would you rate your self-confidence?
A: I guess I don't. "Confidence" doesn't really mean anything to me. Maybe it's because I don't have much of an ego.
Q: Then do you often find yourself getting run over by others, or being exploited into serving them?
A: No, I'm not a pushover. To earn my living I have to have a keen mind for business and many other kinds of judgments. I just…I don't care about thinking highly of myself. Nor do I think lowly of myself. It's just not something I need to think about.
Q: What do you do when you fail at something important?
A: Most of my life is designed around, and most of my energy invested against, such a thing happening. But when it does happen, what else can I do but learn whatever I can learn from my failure and move on?
Q: What might the members of your Guard suggest as areas where you could particularly stand to improve?
A: I'm told that I tend to listen without hearing. I'm usually in such a hurry to get where I'm going, that I don't take into account other people's perspectives—no, that's not quite right. Not their perspectives, but the fact that they exist as separate people who possess their own subjectivities.
Q: How do you handle criticism?
A: It's not that I don't care. I take criticism very seriously. As you know I'm a fan of military history; well, the battlefields of the past are littered with generals who couldn't take criticism, or whose patrons couldn't take it. But when I take criticism, I have to come around to it. You're never right the first time. I'm always right the first time. You don't get to correct me. Instead, with a little patience, and a little backbone, you can help me correct myself.
Also, one of the things about being a good general, or being fit to serve on the Guard of Galavar, is that you have to know how to take criticism from anywhere. Anywhere. Even from someone who was wrong just a breath ago.
Q: What do you worry about?
A: You expect me to give some kind of stereotypical answer about people foiling my plots or living blithely happy lives, don't you? I'll tell you what I really worry about: I worry whenever ugly things happen instead of beautiful things. I worry whenever beautiful things happen that could have been even more beautiful, but, because of tragedy or foolery, didn't happen.
And the simple things. I worry about having a comfortable place to sleep when I'm traveling. I worry about finding a filling meal when I'm out among the wastes or the crags. I worry that I'll be bitten by something venemous, or murdered in my sleep by a thug.
Q: Jemmy boy, the pipes are calling!
A: That's a stereotype, lad! I may have red hair and I may be scarce bigger than a leprechaun, but I'm my own person.
Q: So how do we fix the housing crisis?
A: It's a damn shame, isn't it? The obvious answer is more low-income construction and rent controls, but where do the market forces come in to build something that isn't as profitable as the alternatives? The opportunity costs are real. And rent controls have a way of exacerbating inequalities outside their domain—nor can we simply institute them across the whole city. And if we do manage to make housing available and affordable, what happens to the local economy? The regional economy? Do people move into the area and just recreate the problem all over again? And what about the balance of the labor supply and demand? It's a can of worms, I'll tell you that.
Not my area of expertise, though. I specialize in magic. Civics…now that's hard.
Q: If you could be any animal from the carousel for a day, which one would you be?
A: Aren't they all horses?
A: I'd like being a horse. When they run, it's not all that fast in the absolute, but when you're riding a horse at full gallop it feels like you're going faster than any mate or beast ever did. I imagine that's how it feels for the horse, too.
Q: Do you like change?
A: No, I like the opposite of change. It gets back to the racing: I run fastest in the lane I know. I'm at home in the places that feel familiar.
Q: What does family mean to you?
A: I think I got the wrong question.
Q:, Well, then. Describe your perfect day.
A: Ah…that's easy. I sleep in, yet somehow it's still twilight when I wake up. I lie in bed and think about how awesome life is. Then I get myself off at the moment of sunrise. Then a bubble bath with water jets and a toy navy. Downstairs there's a sky lobby on the forest floor where I eat coffee and breakfast and chat with some fine friend while it rains. If it's a heavy breakfast I get off again afterwards. After that I go supernova—literal supernova, except instead of vaporizing everything it's a wave of creation. I create a whole new sea of worlds and civilizations. Some of the teenagers have a poster of me on their walls. But they don't adore me. They want to be me. I'm their vessel for wish fulfillment. That makes me grin. That's me, twenty years ago. For lunch it's something I can't pronounce on plates I can't afford on a starbase between the moons, a loud lunch, a laughing lunch, with friends and rivals. The afternoon is for racing. I'm a famous F-Zero hovercar driver and—
Q: I think you're breaking the fourth wall. Maybe the fifth one too?
A: Hey, it's my perfect day. They ask me why I drive, why I put myself in a hunk of supersonic metal year after year and risk my life driving in circles. I don't do it for the money. I don't do it for the same. I don't do it for the sex. I don't even do it to be free. I do it because I want to go fast.
A: Because going fast makes me feel alive.
Javelin: True AF!
A: Then it's sunset in the big city, a fancy dinner with my lover-mate, a symphony at the big hall, and back home with him for the trashiest food you can imagine, doughnuts and pizza, cider and whiskey. I ditch my fleshy physique for the body of a true blob, and I eat till I barf or pass out, and lay my guy three times along the way. At some point the bells on the clock chime in pentatonic harmony. It's the end of the perfect day, and the stars are out as the city shines orange on the bellies of the clouds.
Q: That's certainly…earnest.
O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!